“A dynamic profession that works to improve the welfare of the people and their communities by creating more convenient, equitable, healthy, efficient, sustainable, and attractive places for the present and future generations.”

Town Planning concerns itself with the development and revitalization of proposed and already existing projects that would further help in improving the living standards of the citizens. It tries to create a balance between modern construction technology and existing built heritage to design an environment that would be diverse, sustainable, and vigorous. People at times get confused and misinterpret town/urban planning and urban design. 

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Career Guide: Town Planner - Sheet1
Town planning a profession that works on improving the living standards of the people and their communities_©Arto  Marttinen -unsplash

While town/urban planning focuses more on the technical and political aspects and works on creating strategies and policies, urban design primarily focuses on the design and user experience of everything from public space to infrastructure along with landscape, transportation, and community spaces.

Evolution of town planning in India

On paper, Jaipur is tagged as the first planned city of India, but the roots of town planning in India can be traced back to 2500 BC in the Harappa and Mohenjo Daro towns of the Indus valley civilization. In the 1700s Amber, the then capital of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II kingdom was hit by water shortage. The ruler studied city planning of several European countries and approached Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, a Bengal-based architect, to build the city of Jaipur. The blueprint of the town was designed based on the concepts of Vastu shastra. The city was divided into nine rectangular sectors with straight roads and encircled around by the wall which could be accessed through nine gates placed in different directions. 

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Career Guide: Town Planner - Sheet2
Chandigarh_©top10tale

Similarly, Fatehpur Sikri and Sikandra, in Uttar Pradesh, Murshidabad in West Bengal, Sindhudurg in Maharashtra, Chittorgarh, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Mewar and Udaipur in Rajasthan, Ahmedabad in Gujarat, Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh, and Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh are some of the planned and developed towns of the medieval period. 

After partition, Chandigarh became the first planned city of independent India. Chandigarh is also divided into sectors, which are connected. They all have their parks, schools, shopping areas, and other essential facilities.

What do planners do?

Some of the work that planners do include:

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  1. Planning and designing safer human settlements.
  2. Managing the development of affordable housing
  3. Regenerating socially deprived areas 
  4. Helping in bringing back life to ignored historic structures
  5. Creating policies for better traffic management
  6. Performing technical analysis for planned development 
  7. Encouraging public participation in various planned projects
  8. Improving energy efficiency by cutting carbon emissions from residential and industrial structures.
Career Guide: Town Planner - Sheet3
Planners do extensive research and technical analysis for aplanned development _©Tobias-unsplash

Education Qualification and Skills required.

As far as educational qualification is concerned one can opt for either of the two ways:

  1. Pursue Bachelors in Planning, Architecture, or B.tech (civil), and later go for a specialization in town planning. Or else,
  2. Pursue post-graduation in either Geography, Economics, or Sociology and then go for a specialization in town planning.

For Bachelor in Planning with course duration of 4 years, it is necessary to have mathematics in 10+2 for whereas in masters the course duration is for 2 years with minimum graduation marks set by the institute.

Career Guide: Town Planner - Sheet4
Laura Chouette_©unsplash

Skills an individual must have or work on to become an efficient town planner are research, analysis, writing, GIS, community outreach, presentation, and public speaking. Apart from the mentioned skills, the individual should also be registered at ITPI (Institute of Town Planners, India) to practice as a planner.

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Now, let’s look at the institutes in India offering the course in Town Planning.

Prestigious colleges with both Bachelors and Masters both:

  • School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi
  • School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal
  • School of Planning and Architecture, Vijayawada
  • School of Planning and Architecture, J.N.T.U. Hyderabad
  • Guru Ram Das School of Planning, GNDU, Amritsar

Prestigious colleges with Masters only:

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  • Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee
  • National Institute of Technology Calicut
  • CEPT University, Ahmedabad
  • Malaviya National Institute of Technology Jaipur
  • India Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Howrah

Career Prospects and Opportunities

Planning graduates are typically employed with the town and country planning department of the center and state government, local bodies, development authorities, consulting firms, non-profit agencies, educational institutions, and private land development firms. 

Career Guide: Town Planner - Sheet5
Future of town planning indeed looks promising in India_©Stuart Frisby-unsplash

Some prominent employers are:

  • Town and Country Planning Organization
  • National Institute of Urban Affairs
  • HUDCO and their regional offices
  • Boston consulting group
  • DTZ Debenham Tie Leung
  • Wilbur Smith Associates

In a report of the Expert Committee in Town Planning and Architecture India would need 3,00,000 town and country planners by 2031. With approximately 8000 cities and towns, 600 districts, and 4,00,000 villages, with only one allotted planner to an area, India needs a lot more professionals in this field. It is expected by 2050 town planning will be one of the most promising careers due to the rapidly growing rate of urbanization.

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Top countries to work as a town planner 

  1. California: Average annual salary; $75,045
  2. Australia: Average annual salary; AU$70,939
  3. UAE: Average annual salary; AED 164,813
One has to very passionate about planning to pursue it as it is a very vast and diverse field._©Mohit Kumar-unsplash

Online courses one must check out for Town Planning

  1. Swayam NPTEL, an initiative by seven Indian Institutes of Technology (Bombay, Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras, Guwahati, and Roorkee) along with the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore has many certified online courses on town planning. Such as Introduction to Urban planning, Urban utilities Planning: Water Supply, Sanitation and Drainage, and Urban Governance and Development Management.
  2. edX, an online open course initiated by Harvard and MIT has some amazing free courses with paid certificates such as Ecodesign for Cities and Suburbs, Smart Cities, Management of Smart Urban Infrastructures, Sustainable Urban Development, and many more.
  3. Coursera, another online platform that provides some great content specializations such as GIS, Mapping, and Spatial Analysis Specialization, by the University of Toronto, and Reclaiming the Street for Livable Urban Spaces by the University of Amsterdam.

References

Indian Institute of Town Planners. Planning as a career.[online]. Available at:  ITPI Career Planning – Town & Country Planning Courses in India.[Accessed 14 Aug 2021].

TERRACAST.2019.Urban Planning vs Urban Design – Breaking Down the Differences.[online].(Last updated 4 April 2019) Available at: Urban Planning vs Urban Design – Breaking Down the Differences – TerraCast Products.[Accessed 14 Aug 2021].

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TNN.2019.Jaipur: The story of India’s first planned city.[online].(Last updated 7 July 2019) Available at: Jaipur: The story of India’s first planned city | Jaipur News – Times of India (indiatimes.com). [Accessed 14 Aug 2021].

Snehil Sharma. 2020. History of Chandigarh: Ancient Village turned to be the First Planned City.(Last updated 11 Dec 2020) Available at: History of Chandigarh: Ancient Village turned to be the First Planned City | Humari Baat. [Accessed 14 Aug 2021].

Sheetal Banchariya. 2019. India needs 3 lakh town planners by 2031. Know how you can be one.[online]. (Last updated 8 Jan 2019). Available at: India needs 3 lakh town planners by 2031. Know how you can be one – Times of India (indiatimes.com) [Accessed 14 Aug 2021].

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Author

Ashruti Singh is an Architect based in Lucknow with a passion for reading, writing, and research. She loves exploring and reading about Interactive urban design and Sustainable alternative materials. She is strong-headed and soft-hearted, who believes in expressing emotions through her work.

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